I’ve been reflecting on the importance and power of simple rhythms in life. Rhythm, by definition, is a repeated pattern of regular activity. Because rhythms are regular and repeated, they rarely generate excitement or draw attention. In fact, most of the time rhythms go unnoticed until…they stop. Right now your whole life is sustained by the unconscious rhythm of your beating heart. But we scarcely think about it until the rhythm is broken. Every day creation pulses with rhythms of tides, currents, new moons, sun rises, seasons, and years. And while they are unremarkably regular, they are enormously powerful in the flourishing of life. Simply observe how the mighty cliff crumbles before the incessant rhythm of the ocean waves.

I’ve come to embrace the fact that the same is true in the Christian life. I confess that I do love to hear remarkable stories of astonishing breakthroughs, miracles and revivals. The Lord knows I’ve prayed for such things—and to some degree experienced them. When they come, we shouldn’t hesitate to marvel at God’s wonders and give thanks. But let’s also face the fact that a miracle by definition is neither regular nor rhythmic. They are single events of power. That’s why we call them “miracles.”

That’s why, I believe, we need to rediscover the remarkable power of grace at work in simple, daily rhythms. A woman who wakes up each morning, pours herself a cup of tea, opens the Scripture and communes with God through prayer, is living a simple rhythm of grace. The 45 minutes of private worship may not seem like much. Like the ocean wave striking the cliff, there may be no immediate evidence of change. But that’s where the power of simple rhythm comes in to play. A life-long devotion to daily rhythms of worship, meditation, prayer and communion will have an inestimable impact on eternity. Indeed, such rhythms exercised in faith will cause strongholds to crumble.

In the same way, simple rhythms of waving at neighbors, holding open doors, giving up seats for others are repeated activities that have a way of wearing down the hardest and most unloving of hearts. Most of life consists of such things Therefore, rather than dismiss them as insignificant, we would do well to embrace and cultivate the power of grace working through simple rhythms.

(Originally published March 19, 2014)

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